by Florence Mynarski
I, Florence Mynarski, am a first generation Alaskan. On August 3, 1955, I left Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to drive to Haines, Alaska, where I boarded the Chilkoot ferry for Juneau. I was treated to tea in the wheelhouse by Captain G. David Gitkoff, as I was the first “Rhode Islander” he had ferried. I spent three weeks at the Juneau Hotel before I found an apartment at 313 7th Street. I began work at Fish and Wildlife Service a week after I arrived. As a member of the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I soon became acquainted with many people who became friends. I took up skiing and became President of the Juneau Ski Club and published their monthly newsletter. I also became a member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority in 1957, and was president of the Alpha Gamma chapter several times, as well as holding several other offices. In 1978, I moved to Anchorage to work with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Finding it difficult to live in Anchorage, I moved back to Juneau in May 1980, where I resumed my position with the National Marine Fisheries Service at the Auke Bay Lab, as Chief Secretary to the Director. I retired in September 1995. I remain living in Juneau and am glad to have a plot in Evergreen Cemetery.
I joined Pioneers of Alaska in 1986. I have held all chairs except President, at my own request.
The most exciting event in my life was receiving a personal blessing from Pope John Paul II in Anchorage, February 26, 1981.
I have traveled from Barrow to Ketchikan and out to Dutch Harbor in Alaska. Now I live “out the road” and enjoy the wilderness, occasionally having visits from deer, bear and many birds.